Speculations about when the schools will be reopened in England have been rife, with reports suggesting it maybe sooner. School leaders have asked for an end to such speculations by saying it was only adding to fears and anxiety parents have during this crisis.
A recent report by Sunday Times, which quoted senior ministers suggesting that a decision had already been reached and three dates had been set aside, also added to the conversation on when the schools would be reopened. The ministers had claimed the three dates agreed upon were May 11th after the lockdown is lifted, the second reopening date had been put on June 1st, after the midterm holiday and in a worst-case scenario, the school would reopen on September.
School leaders condemn the unfounded spread of school reopening rumors
However, the ministers’ suggestions were unfounded and had no consultations with the Education Department. The ministers were forced to walk back their statements, which said there was a possibility the schools would be reopened next month. The suggestions angered school leaders who said the statements had no backing of science and they were unaware of such a possibility.
Education Minister, Gavin Williamson, on Sunday, refuted the claims that his ministry was working on reopening the schools next month. He said the opening dates were not yet clear and they would wait on health experts to give recommendations before reopening the schools. He continued by saying there was nothing he would love than seeing students returning to schools and continuing with their studies. However, safety and health concerns must be followed to ensure that when they finally return.
Gavin suggested that to reopen the schools, there needed to be at least five tests to ascertain that it was 100 percent safe. Therefore, the calls for reopening schools in the summer or making up time for time lost due to lockdowns were unrealistic and the suggestions were not true.
School leaders have urged leaders to stop speculating on the date when the schools will be reopened and leave the matter to the Education Department. Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said suggestions by senior government officials were only causing fears and speculations were not healthy at this time.
School leaders also wanted an end to private sessions and briefings by ministers where they were creating confusion to stop. They said it was not healthy for anyone to spread unfounded information, especially in these times where everyone is on high alert due to coronavirus.